“Look at the Flowers” felt like a return to form, as Alpha’s death forces everyone to reconsider what’s next.
This recap of The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 14, “Look at the Flowers”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After last week’s disappointingly terrible send-off for Michonne, “Look at the Flowers” felt like a real return to form. And that’s a difficult thing to accomplish given it’s coming right on the back of a momentous story development and presumably right before the next one; it’s about that awkward transitional period as everyone lurches from the old status quo into the new now, in which Alpha (Samantha Morton) is dead, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is kind of a hero, and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) might have unwittingly made contact with a new group of friends — or, perhaps likelier, dangerous enemies.
But “Look at the Flowers” starts with a flashback to Carol (Melissa McBride) visiting Negan while he was still imprisoned and proposing his undercover assignment to him. He’s reticent at first because he knows failure might result in a lot of people dead, but Carol is able to convince him that if he brings her Alpha’s head, that’s what people will remember him for. After seven years in a cell, he’s keen to stretch his legs, so he agrees. When he asks Carol for her word that she’ll sing his praises if he’s successful, she assures him she will — but only if he does it fast. You know how Carol is. I wouldn’t be taking that deal.
Negan evidently did take the deal, though, which is how we end up with him and Carol mounting Alpha’s head on one of the border stakes. Negan’s eager to get back to Alexandria so everyone can learn what a hero he is now, but Carol isn’t going back yet — she’s off for a walk in the woods, and since he took so long to do the deed, he’ll be lucky if she holds up her end of the bargain. See? I told you she wasn’t reliable.
Luckily, Hilltop is in decent nick following the battle. Magna (Nadia Hilker) is back, and largely unbothered by her ordeal. The kids are safe. Rosita (Christian Serratos) is hurt but alive and takes a moment to press Eugene into confessing about his radio buddy. He does, after some intervention from Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and his tearful monologue would have probably made for a good scene if he didn’t insist on speaking in that ludicrous way. The group is due to split up again, with Eugene, Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Ezekiel heading out to rendezvous with the mysterious Stephanie, so we get some nice farewell scenes between Miko and Magna and Ezekiel and Jerry (Cooper Andrews).
The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 14 also solidifies Beta’s (Ryan Hurst) promotion to the Whisperer Big Bad. It’s obvious when he finds Alpha’s spiked head that he’s not altogether comfortable with the situation since he thinks her zombified chattering is her talking to him and he lets her chomp on one of the henchmens’ cheeks to prove the point. He takes her head with him and carries it in a sack for most of the episode, raising it to his ear whenever he requires some posthumous wisdom. That wisdom, questionable though it might be, includes shanking his mate, taking cover in a house full of musical paraphernalia which he angrily smashes, and tearing chunks of his face mask off to reveal his true rockstar identity, matching the visage on one of the posters he finds. He’s gone somewhat downhill.
Meanwhile in “Look at the Flowers”, we get a couple of minor threads in which Negan runs into Daryl (Norman Reedus) and has to try and convince him that he was a good guy all along, while Carol roams the wilderness and has arguments with Alpha, whom her fragile psyche has conjured to berate her about her decision-making. The Daryl and Negan stuff is the better of the two. When Negan leads him at crossbow-point back to the border, they discover Alpha’s head missing, which doesn’t bode well. But when they’re ambushed by some Whisperer goons, who kneel to their new Alpha, Negan is able to prove his point by helping Daryl kill them all. They sit on a log and have a bit of a heart-to-heart during which Negan confesses that he did kind of like being among the Whisperers since it was the first opportunity he has had in ages to be respected again. But they took it too far. The Survivors might have kept Negan locked up all these years, but they don’t kill people who don’t deserve it, and they never kill kids. That has always been a line Negan is unwilling to cross. And he’s able to get through to Daryl, even if they are a long way away from a friendship.
Carol’s adventure is about convincing herself of her value rather than someone else; she gets trapped under some debris and “Alpha” tries to talk her into just allowing a nearby walker to gobble her up — it’d be easier than Daryl dying because of her, just like everyone else she cares about has. I suppose this is the kind of stern talking-to Carol needed, but you have to wonder where the show is going to go with it. Is she “cured” now, so to speak? Or is she going to continue making absurdly rash decisions that get people killed? The jury’s still out.
Eugene, Ezekiel and Yumiko almost trip and fall into Season 11, but not quite. They reach a city in which the walkers have been eerily dressed up in grim tableaux to give the impression the place is still carrying on as normal; chattering walkers tip to and fro in rocking chairs outside stores, excitedly eat in diners, and play cop — much to the enjoyment of Ezekiel, who seems to be losing it a bit. They’re greeted out of nowhere with an enthusiastic “Oh my God hi!” by an armed woman, which doesn’t suggest they’ve made a new friend.
The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 14 ends with Beta though. After trashing his hideout, he turns some tunes up full blast to attract a little horde, then has a little introspective moment that he thanks Alpha’s head for before finally sticking it with a knife. Suddenly driven towards his next objective, and I think we can all work out what that is, he emerges out into the horde, having replaced the bits of his mask he pulled off with strips of Alpha’s face. It’s quite a fashion statement.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.